Summer is here! Heat, humidity, and poor air quality

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Summer

An extended period of “late spring” is coming to an end. The past month has featured brief periods of hot weather, but generally with fairly moderate humidity levels. Even when we have hit 90 degrees, which has only been a couple of times, there has been no noticeable heat index. That changes this weekend.

Summer

Thursday’s high of 90 degrees, is the coolest we may be for the next week, at least. In addition, dewpoints (the measure of how much moisture is in the air, independent of temperature) will climb from very comfortable levels so far this week towards values we expect (and dread) in the summer – 70 degrees plus. High temperatures Friday through Sunday will be in the mid to upper 90s. Coupled with muggy dewpoints, we’ll likely see our first 100-degree heat indices of the summer this weekend with nary a raindrop, and barely any clouds. Even the breezes will remain very light, meaning there won’t be much relief from the heat unless you are in a pool!

Humidity

A little temporary relief looks possible early next week with small rain chances, but mainly just more cloud cover. We’ll still be at or above 90 with uncomfortable humidity levels. Beyond that, it appears low to mid 90s return for much of the next week. Given the week 2 temperature outlook (below), and what we have coming in the next week, we’re definitely starting the hot season!

Week 2 Temps
Temperature outlook versus average for June 21-27, 2024 (NOAA/Climate Prediction Center)

In addition to the heat, strong high pressure overhead means light wind and few clouds. When combined with local emissions, we’ve also started #CodeOrange season, as air quality suffers from elevated levels of ozone. We’ve already had a couple of these “Action Days” this week and will have another on Friday, which might continue into Sunday. For most, Code Orange days are not a big deal, but for those with asthma or other lung or heart ailments, or those who are elderly or very young, too much exposure to the hot air can aggravate breathing issues. Also, for healthy adults, take it a bit easier outdoors, especially in the afternoon heat.

Aqi Table
Air quality levels and those affected by the associated health hazards
Code Orange Tips

Unfortunately, at least for the heat, there is little relief in sight. Air quality tends to be worst with full sunshine, light wind, and low humidity, so more clouds and higher humidity, along with a breeze, will actually improve those conditions modestly. Hang in there – fall is only 100 days away!

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